Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Case for Marriage - a Study Guide for General Convention 2015


Claiming the Blessing (CTB) was convened in 2002 as "an intentional collaborative of organizations and individuals within the Episcopal Church advocating for full inclusion of all the baptized in all sacraments of the church."

In 2002 a CTB Theology Statement was distributed to all bishops and deputies prior to General Convention in 2003 making the case for the blessing of same-sex relationships. That resource remains available online here

As we head toward #GC78 CTB has created "Claiming the Blessing 2015: The Case for Marriage" - which is available online here and will be available in print onsite at General Convention in Salt Lake City.

The content includes:
* Introduction to the Marriage Task Force Blue Book Report
* Q&A re: the Marriage Task Force Report
* Summary of SCLM liturgical proposals
* Legislative history timeline
* Michael Hopkins' essay "Recognized Holiness" making the case for marriage.

I just have to add what a deep delight it was to receive the outpouring of response to our request for photos from weddings of same-sex couples around the church. The avalanche of joyful pictures representing just the tip of the iceberg of the couples in this church in in this country longing to make that profound commitment to love, honor and cherish the love of their life as long as they both shall live was a reminder to me of the tremendous impact our work together in Salt Lake City will have on the lives of those we will never know.

Will we be a church that continues to travel forward on that arc of history that bends toward inclusion? Or will we reduce these precious lives, loves and relationships to "an issue" we continue to study and argue about?

With tremendous gratitude for all who have brought us thus far on the way -- and with thanks for the privilege of continuing the work -- it is time to let our "yes be yes." (Matthew 5:37) It is time to Reimagine the Episcopal Church with Marriage Equality.


The Rev. Canon Susan Russell has served as Integrity's President and is currently the convener of Claiming the Blessing, a national collaborative ministry focused on the full inclusion of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender baptized into the Episcopal Church. A senior associate at All Saints Church in Pasadena CA, she is also a founding member of the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion Council and a regular contributor to the Huffington Post's religion forum. Her personal blog may be found at An Inch at a Time.



Friday, May 8, 2015

MAY 15 DEADLINE TO SUBMIT NOMINATIONS for Integrity Board and Provincial Coordinators

MAY 15 DEADLINE TO SUBMIT NOMINATIONS for Integrity Board and Provincial Coordinators—the team who will lead Integrity through the next Triennium, 2015 – 2018

As stipulated in the bylaws, all positions are open every three years. We aim for diversity of race, gender, age, ethnicity, section of the country, sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

Do you resonate with Integrity’s mission? “To inspire and equip the Episcopal Church, its dioceses, congregations, and members to proclaim and embody God’s all-inclusive love for LGBTQ persons and those who love them.”
Do you feel God’s call to lead us in these tasks? Do you know someone else who might be so called? (Job descriptions and more information is below.)

All offices are open every three years: President; Vice-President for National Affairs; Vice-President for Local Affairs; Treasurer; Secretary; and Chair of Stakeholders’ Council. In addition we’ll elect Provincial Coordinators for all eight domestic provinces.

The only requirement to run or to vote is that you are a member of Integrity. So please make sure your membership is up to date! If you’re not a member and feel called, join now and submit your application.

Here is the Nominating Committee: Chair: S Wayne Mathis. Contact him or any of the committee members below (regardless of province) for further information or to submit applications. You may submit application to any committee member or to nominate@integrityusa.org



Dante Tavolaro   
Rev. Kerlin Richter
Province 2  kerlinsmail@gmail.com
The Rev. Scott Allen
Province 3  gambaguy@gmail.com
Nancy Mott
David Fleer
Province 5  david.fleer@yahoo.com 
Bill Oliver
Province 6  gnarlybill@hotmail.com 
S Wayne Mathis
Shireen Miles
Email applications may be submitted to any of the committee or to nominate@integrityusa.org Your email application must be submitted by May 15 and include the following information:

  1. Name, address, phone and email
  2. The position you want to run for.
  3. 2-3 paragraphs about yourself 
    • your diocese and your experience with Integrity
    • the skills/experience you will bring to this position
    • why you think God may be calling you to this position
You are welcome also to contact Matt Haines (matt@integrityusa.org) or other current Board members if you want to know more about what’s involved.

Contact Marie Alford-Harkey (Marie@integrityusa.org) Vice-President for Local Affairs, to talk about the role of the Provincial Coordinators.



Once nominations are closed, current members will be sent a ballot by either US Mail or a secure electronic voting system. All ballots will need to be returned by June 15, 2015. Results will be announced on the last day of General Convention.



Please join us in praying that God will raise up leaders among us who can joyfully take on the responsibilities of this organization so that we may further God’s kingdom together!

Here are Board Responsibilities: From Integrity Bylaws

Chapter 2. Board of Directors  
 Article 2. Responsibilities      
 Section 1. General The Board shall be responsible for the programs, development, and administration of Integrity in accordance with the organization’s goals and purposes and its Articles of Incorporation…
 Section 2. Financial The Board shall annually adopt a national budget which shall be published to the membership and shall cause a “review” if not an “audit” of the financial records to be performed according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles by a Certified Public Accountant biennially.
 Article 5. Duties of Officers       
 Section 1. President         
A. If and when there is no Executive Director, the President shall be the principal spokesperson for the organization and shall be the chief representative of Integrity to the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, and [all] other organizations….
B. The President shall chair meetings of the Board.        
C. The President shall have charge of, and may with the concurrence of the Board, appoint committees and individuals to assist in carrying out the programs and obligations of the organization; shall be a member ex-officio of all committees and task forces; and shall make regular reports to the membership of Integrity.       
 Section 2. Secretary         
A. The Secretary shall record and maintain the minutes of meetings of the Board; shall conduct the legal correspondence of the organization; and shall be the custodian of the official business records of Integrity.           
B. The Secretary or his/her designee shall maintain Chapter status records for purposes of certification and shall confirm in-formation status and authorize the use of the name “Integrity” by Chapters-in-formation.          
C. The Secretary shall also function as Director of Communications.       
 Section 3. Treasurer          
A. The Treasurer shall be bonded and shall be responsible for the receipt and disbursement of all funds of Integrity, and for the maintenance of accurate financial records with a regular accounting to the Board and an annual accounting to the membership, shall prepare and file such fiscal reports as may be required by governmental entities, shall prepare an annual budget for approval by the Board, and shall, with the concurrence of the Board, arrange for a “review” or an “audit” of the books as specified in Article 7. Section 2.         
 B. The Treasurer or her/his designee shall maintain the current membership rolls and bill members for the annual dues.       

Section 4. Vice-Presidents          
A. The Vice President for National Affairs, in concert with the Executive Director (if there be one) and the President, shall be responsible for planning, implementing, and evaluating Integrity’s programming, development, and administrative work at the national level.         
B. The Vice President for Local Affairs, in concert with the Executive Director (if there be one) and the President, shall be responsible for planning, implementing, and evaluating Integrity’s programming, development, and administrative work at the provincial, diocesan, and congregational levels. This officer shall act as mentor to the Provincial Coordinators and serve as the primary liaison between them and the Board. 

CHAPTER 3. STAKEHOLDERS’ COUNCIL    
Article 1. Section 1  Members  There shall be a Stakeholders’ Council (hereinafter “Council”), which shall consist of the following: •
MEMBERS WITH SEAT, VOICE, AND VOTE: Chapter Conveners, Diocesan Network Coordinators, Congregational Circle Moderators, Partner Representatives, and Lifetime Members •
MEMBERS WITH SEAT AND VOICE: Provincial Coordinators, Past Presidents, members of the Board, representatives of organizations designated by the Board as “allied organizations,” and the Executive Director if there be one.
Section 2. Officers There shall be a Chair and a Vice Chair of the Council, elected by the members of the Council as provided in these bylaws.   
 Article 2. Responsibilities  The Council shall offer advice and counsel to the Board concerning the mission and ministry of Integrity, the organization’s programs, resource development, leadership development, organizational alliances and collaborations, and on any other matters which the Board may, from time to time, bring to the Council for its consideration.    
Article 3. Meetings  The Council shall meet at least once each calendar year at a time and place established by the Board.    
Article 4. Resolutions Resolutions shall require a vote of the majority of those present for adoption.


The full bylaws can be found at IntegrityUSA’s website.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Thank you Bruce Jenner

On Friday, April 24, 2015, Bruce Jenner ended long standing conjecture and confirmed that he* is transgender. Jenner is known to some (me) from his remarkable performance in the 1976 Olympic decathlon, and others from his Kardashian connection. In an interview with Diane Sawyer he talked about his life, his knowledge of his true identity, and the pressures of society and family which caused him to keep his true identity a secret.

Awareness of transgender people has grown in recent years – much of the publicity about young people, and all too much of that tragic. Jenner told the world (16.9 million viewers) about the issues and struggles facing those who transitioned later in life.

Many of us in Jenner’s generation (which includes me) lived much of our lives hiding who we really are, sometimes from ourselves, and Jenner’s willingness to share his story with so many is an act of great courage.

Integrity USA has long supported equality for transgender people. In 2012, in preparation for the General Convention, Integrity USA produced and distributed “Voices of Witness: Out of the Box”, a documentary about the lives of a number of transgender persons in the Episcopal Church – both laity and clergy. At General Convention, we supported two resolutions which added gender identity and expression to the non-discrimination canons. We made our support known through conversations with deputies and with testimony at committee hearings. The Rev. Carla Robinson, a deputy, spoke on the convention floor in the House of Deputies. (Both resolutions passed.)

I can speak for the Integrity USA Board of Directors when I say, “Thank you, Bruce Jenner” and may God bless and support you as you continue your journey.


*Jenner used the name Bruce and male pronouns in the interview, so I have done the same for this article.



The Rev. Carolyn Woodall
Chair, Stakeholder Council and Board Member
Integrity USA

Friday, April 24, 2015

Nominations for Integrity Board and Provincial Coordinators

It is time for us to start the process of electing the Board of Directors and the Provincial Coordinators to lead Integrity into the new 2015-2018 triennium. This leadership team will have the joy of building on the successes of General Convention as well as leading Integrity in its future outreach.

We have named a Nominations Committee whose task is to gather nominations from the membership for the Board (President, National Vice-President, Vice President for Local Affairs, Treasurer, Secretary, and Chair of the Stakeholder’s Council) and for Provincial Coordinators for each of the eight domestic Provinces.

The members of the Nominations Committee are:
Dante TavolaroProvince 1
Rev. Kerlin RichterProvince 2
Rev. Scott AllenProvince 3
Nancy MottProvince 4
David FleerProvince 5
Bill OliverProvince 6
S Wayne MathisProvince 7
Shireen MilesProvince 8

If you think that God might be calling you to run for one of these elected positions, please take a look at the task outlines (see below for excerpts from the bylaws) and then send an email to nominate@integrityusa.org with the following information:
  • Name, Address, Phone, Email
  • The position you want to run for.
  • 2-3 paragraphs about yourself
    • your diocese and your experience with Integrity
    • the skills/experience you will bring to this position
    • why you think God may be calling you to this position
We need to receive your nomination by Friday May 15, 2015. The only requirement to run is that you are a member of Integrity. So please make sure your membership is up to date!

You are welcome to contact Matt Haines (matt@integrityusa.org) or other current Board members if you want to know more about what’s involved, or contact Marie Alford-Harkey (Marie@integrityusa.org) Vice-President for Local Affairs, to talk about the role of the Provincial Coordinators.

Once nominations are closed, current members will be sent a ballot by US Mail.  All ballots will need to be returned by June 15, 2015.  Results will be announced on the last day of General Convention.

Please join us in praying that God will raise up leaders among us who can joyfully take on the responsibilities of this organization so that we may further God's kingdom together!


Chapter 2. Board of Directors
   Article 2. Responsibilities
      Section 1. General
The Board shall be responsible for the programs, development, and
administration of Integrity in accordance with the organization's goals and
purposes and its Articles of Incorporation. Except as otherwise provided,
policies not set forth in these bylaws shall be made by a majority vote of the
Board at any regular or special meeting of the Board.

      Section 2. Financial
The Board shall annually adopt a national budget which shall be published to
the membership and shall cause a "review" if not an "audit" of the financial
records to be performed according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles
by a Certified Public Accountant biennially.

   Article 5. Duties of Officers

      Section 1. President
         A. If and when there is no Executive Director, the President shall be the
principal spokesperson for the organization and shall be the chief
representative of Integrity to the Episcopal Church and the Anglican
Communion, and other organizations domestic and foreign.

         B. The President shall chair meetings of the Board.

         C. The President shall have charge of, and may with the concurrence of the
Board, appoint committees and individuals to assist in carrying out the
programs and obligations of the organization; shall be a member ex-officio
of all committees and task forces; and shall make regular reports to the
membership of Integrity.

      Section 2. Secretary
         A. The Secretary shall record and maintain the minutes of meetings of the
Board; shall conduct the legal correspondence of the organization; and shall
be the custodian of the official business records of Integrity.

         B. The Secretary or his/her designee shall maintain Chapter status records for
purposes of certification and shall confirm in-formation status and authorize
the use of the name "Integrity" by Chapters-in-formation.

         C. The Secretary shall also function as Director of Communications.

      Section 3. Treasurer

         A. The Treasurer shall be bonded and shall be responsible for the receipt and
disbursement of all funds of Integrity, and for the maintenance of accurate
financial records with a regular accounting to the Board and an annual
accounting to the membership, shall prepare and file such fiscal reports as
may be required by governmental entities, shall prepare an annual budget
for approval by the Board, and shall, with the concurrence of the Board,
arrange for a "review" or an "audit" of the books as specified in Article 7. Section 2.

         B. The Treasurer or her/his designee shall maintain the current membership
rolls and bill members for the annual dues.

      Section 4. Vice-Presidents

         A. The Vice President for National Affairs, in concert with the Executive
Director (if there be one) and the President, shall be responsible for
planning, implementing, and evaluating Integrity's programming,
development, and administrative work at the national level.

         B. The Vice President for Local Affairs, in concert with the Executive Director
(if there be one) and the President, shall be responsible for planning,
implementing, and evaluating Integrity's programming, development, and
administrative work at the provincial, diocesan, and congregational levels.
This officer shall act as mentor to the Provincial Coordinators and serve as
the primary liaison between them and the Board.

CHAPTER 3. STAKEHOLDERS’ COUNCIL

   Article 1. Composition

      Section 1. Members

There shall be a Stakeholders’ Council (hereinafter "Council"), which shall
consist of the following:
• MEMBERS WITH SEAT, VOICE, AND VOTE: Chapter Conveners, Diocesan
Network Coordinators, Congregational Circle Moderators, Partner
Representatives, and Lifetime Members
• MEMBERS WITH SEAT AND VOICE: Provincial Coordinators, Past
Presidents, members of the Board, representatives of organizations
designated by the Board as “allied organizations,” and the Executive
Director—if there be one.

      Section 2. Officers
There shall be a Chair and a Vice Chair of the Council, elected by the members
of the Council as provided in these bylaws.

   Article 2. Responsibilities

The Council shall offer advice and counsel to the Board concerning the mission
and ministry of Integrity, the organization’s programs, resource development,
leadership development, organizational alliances and collaborations, and on
any other matters which the Board may, from time to time, bring to the
Council for its consideration.

   Article 3. Meetings

The Council shall meet at least once each calendar year at a time and place
established by the Board.

   Article 4. Resolutions
Resolutions shall require a vote of the majority of those present for adoption.


The full bylaws can be found at IntegrityUSA's website.





Integrity USA's mission is to inspire and equip the Episcopal Church, its dioceses, congregations, and members to proclaim and embody God’s all-inclusive love for LGBTQ persons and those who love them.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Bringing Easter to People Stuck in Holy Week


Beloved of Christ:

Today is Good Friday, the day we remember the selfless death of Jesus on the cross.  It is stark and tragic, yet we know how the story ends.  It ends with resurrection! 

The cross makes no sense without the hope of resurrection.  Yet many people in our LGBTQ community still long for that hope.   They are stuck in a Holy Week sort of life.  They get little joy from the jubilation of Palm Sunday, because they see it as fleeting emotion disconnected from their own feelings of societal rejection.  They understand too well the oppression of religious authorities and the cynicism of government leaders who wash their hands of the notion of equality or justice.  These brothers and sisters feel the derision of the mobs and endure the torture of violence.  Their loved ones watch helplessly—or sometimes join in on it.  So called people of faith have too often betrayed them with a kiss.  Too many of our people have been killed because of who they are; some have actually died at the hand of the state.  They live Holy Week.

Many of us have lived there too, yet we have seen glimpses of hope.  Some of us have seen resurrection in our own lives!  As LGBTQ Christians we are a witness to the savior’s promise of new and eternal life.  We see that life in churches that open their doors and hearts to our families.  We see that life in the way people grow together in relationship based on mutual love and respect.  We see new life as people live honestly and dare to explore their authentic identities fully.  We find hope in the teen who dares to trust that God loves them just the way they are.

We are people of the empty tomb.  There is nothing to see here!  Our Jesus is alive and calls us to live life abundantly.    Let’s remember to always lead lives of contagious hope and to continue to work toward building a church able to model resurrection.

The Passion of Christ lasted a week; the Compassion of Christ lasts forever.

Have a blessed and holy Easter!
 

Matt Haines,
President

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Statement from Integrity on Recent Legislation in Indiana

As Integrity's Coordinator for Province V, which encompasses 14 dioceses of the Episcopal Church in six Midwest states, I wish to express my deep sadness over the passage of legislation in Indiana that legitimizes discrimination against LGBTQ persons.

This law arose after the Supreme Court, on October 6, 2014, declined to hear an appeal of the Seventh Circuit Court's decision to end the ban on same-sex marriage in Indiana and four other states.

There are three reasons for my sorrow. Firstly, it is disgraceful to see elected officials enacting laws that provide legal cover to the behavior of individuals whose education or upbringing blind them to the equality of all persons as established by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U. S. Constitution.

Secondly, I am distressed by these legislators' justification: that this law in some way "restores" religious "freedoms" that have somehow been lost. Supporters of this law are very careful not to articulate these "freedoms," for obvious reasons: they are the acts that express a moral or genetic superiority over an oppressed minority. Over the years many other groups have been discriminated against, denied equal treatment in housing, service, employment and law enforcement, and made to feel unwelcome in this country by others who are taught to feel somehow superior. As with the first point, this "freedom" to be bigoted is frankly un-American.

Finally, to claim a "right" to discriminate against others on religious grounds offends me. The supporters of this law claim, as I do, to be followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus disturbed the religious leadership of his time by prioritizing concern for people over regulations and traditions. His only command to us was "to love others as I have loved you". As Christians, we are called to reflect the compassion and mercy toward others that He showed us during His life on earth. The legislation that passed in Indiana serves a different god.

We hope that in the coming weeks and months, this odious law will be repealed or declared unconstitutional. In this regard, we encourage your action to "do Justice". Write your legislators. Recognize and celebrate diversity among our citizenry. As Scripture says, again and again, "Be not afraid".


David Fleer, Integrity Coordinator
Episcopal Province V

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Integrity USA Reduces Workforce

Integrity USA today announced that it will reduce its workforce as part of a plan to align the organization's resources with its missions and goals. This action will be noted by the departure of Integrity’s full-time employees, Executive Director Vivian Taylor and Development Director Sam Peterson.

"I would like to sincerely thank all of our departing employees and recognize their important and valued contributions to Integrity," said Matt Haines, President of the Board of Directors for Integrity. "While this decision by the Board of Directors was extremely difficult, aligning and managing our limited resources is a critically important priority in our efforts to remain faithful stewards of Integrity."

Several challenges face Integrity in the next few months. Despite some sentiments in the Episcopal Church that the battle over marriage equality is done, Integrity recognizes that much of its work remains and that the mission remains as important as ever. The Board continues its support of the faithful resolutions proposed by the Task Force on the Study of Marriage, which was created in 2012. The upcoming General Convention in Salt Lake City this June 23-July 3 will require resources for legislative and communication support, as well planning and offering a Church-wide Eucharist.

Moreover, much of the discrimination against LGBT people has shifted. Integrity is committed to encouraging the Episcopal Church to stand up against so called “religious freedom” legislation, discrimination against transgender people, the continuing disproportionate number of LGBT youth who are impoverished or driven to suicide, and the dismaying lack of support offered to LGBT women and people of color.

“We thank Vivian and Sam for their contributions and commitment,” said Haines. “We hope that we can find ways of increasing our resources to meet the needs of the Church. Until that time, we are fully committed to seeing that the efforts and contributions of our members and allies are carefully directed in a faithfully sound and responsible fashion without losing sight of our holy mission.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Unfailing Love of Pauli Murray -- a Saint for Us Now

My introduction to Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray was from a search on the internet for material for Integrity’s Friday Flash, our weekly newsletter. My first thought was: why are we not talking about this Episcopal hero all the time!? Here was an exemplary being, a freedom-fighter, a woman of mixed race and elastic gender who, in the most difficult days of the 20th century became a the first African American to receive her J.S.D. from Yale, was a civil rights activist, and at age 66 became the first African-American woman ordained the Episcopal Church. Of course, some of us were talking about Pauli— both the Union of Black Episcopalians and Episcopal Women’s Caucus are champions of her memory. A vote at the 2012 General Convention of the Episcopal Church named her to Holy Women, Holy Men - an Episcopal saint.

Here is an excerpt from a sermon titled "The Dilemma of the Minority Christian" from Anthony B. Pinn’s collection Pauli Murray: Selected Sermons and Writings

Put in its simplest terms, salvation is feeling safe, living without fear, living with the serenity in confidence that we are the objects of God's unfailing love, and that we will always be safe whatever happens, in life or in death, if we have a complete and childlike trust in God's love and tender mercy.
This is a great leap of faith, which does not come easy, which deserts us continually, and which we achieve only by the greatest pain and effort — every day a trial, every breath a prayer. Salvation does not mean that we will avoid suffering, shame, humiliation, or defeat. It does mean that we are not alone — God's love, which was poured out for us in Jesus Christ, is always  with us, to strengthen and save us in every situation, if we have trust in his love.

“Feeling safe, living without fear…in confidence that we are the objects of God’s unfailing love…” What a radical proposition! Particularly from a woman of mixed race, slippery gender, and a sexuality that could not be shared by any person of ambition, much less a woman of color then.

Now here we are, in 2015, working towards a more earthly safety for LGBTQ people, for whom the intersections that Murray embodied still can mean not just discrimination, but violence and even murder. Yet we find strength in this world of suffering, because we know the truth of Murray’s words, that Jesus Christ is always with us and we are indeed the objects of God's unfailing love!

Integrity Board President Matt Haines, Executive Director Vivian Taylor, and I met with Barbara Lau, the Executive Director of the Pauli Murray Project in Durham, NC, where Murray grew up.

Lau clearly sees her own role as the means by which young leaders can step into their own. When she talks about Pauli Murray, you get a sense that Murray -- or "Pauli" as Lau calls her -- is in the room with you encouraging your relationship and ideas. We all felt Murray’s presence at our meeting, even there in a sandwich shop in downtown Denver. There, we agreed that we would do all we could to share Murray’s grace with our membership and to bring attention to our own multifaceted identities. Pauli Murray can serve as a starting place for community connection.

Over the next months, leading up to General Convention, we’ll talk more about our vision for collaboration with the Pauli Murray Project. We hope you’ll have the same experience of Murray that we have come to have on many occasions. And we pray that our vision encompasses the kind of work Murray herself would have us do, to foster divinity through human connection, by creating enriching society, and by sharing the Holy Spirit through graceful service.


Sam Peterson, Development Director Integrity USA

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Farewell to the Rev. Canon Malcolm Boyd (1923-2015)


Malcolm Boyd, 1969
episcopalarchives.org
Integrity USA mourns the loss of the Reverend Canon Malcolm Boyd (1923-2015).  Canon Boyd, author of several spiritual books, shared his interactive relationship with God with millions of people. It could be said that his down to Earth poetic voice enables a generation a way to understand their journey with God.  In fact, his voice has enabled several generations a way to communicate the grace of God. 
Malcolm Boyd was already beloved as a symbol of faithful seeking when he became one of the first Episcopal priests to come out of the closet.  His risk was our gain.  Malcolm Boyd showed LGBTQ Christians that honesty of life within the church can bring blessing and growth.  He never ceased to share his special gifts with us; a true exemplar of Christ.

We mourn especially with his spouse Mark Thompson, his family and especially his diocesan family at this time.  As a Canon and writer-in- residence for the Diocese of Los Angeles, his reassuring presence will surely be missed.  The world has been blessed for 91 years with the talented, loving voice and presence of Canon Boyd.  The Church has been blessed by 60 years of priesthood. 
The title of Malcolm Boyd’s groundbreaking book, “My Book of Prayers—Are you running with me, Jesus?", posed an important rhetorical question.  We have faith that Malcolm Boyd has found out the answer and is running with Jesus even as we mourn.  Rise in Glory, Malcolm! 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Integrity Works with Michigan to Expose "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" Bill Bigotry


The following is from a letter sent to our Michigan congregations. It speaks to the overwhelming tide of similar bills making their way into state legislation. We urge you to prepare a letter-writing campaign, a sermon, or an action if your state is similarly challenged. We can help. Contact our office at info@integrityusa.org. 

Dear Friends,

We recently read about baby Bay, a 6 day old child denied a doctor’s medical treatment—because Bay’s mothers were lesbians. Despite the Hippocratic Oath, and the American Medical Association’s injunction to treat all patients regardless of sexual orientation, baby Bay’s doctor could refuse treatment under something called the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA). An epidemic of refusals to treat, serve or do any business with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender based on people’s religion is happening in Michigan and in 21 states around the country. This legislation is a direct attack on our friends, families, loved ones, and children.

The Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act is back, this time in the state senate. In Michigan, there are at present no legal protections for LGBTQ people, while religious freedom is constitutionally protected by the First Amendment. We love and respect religious freedom, and we’re grateful for the First Amendment--but true religious freedom accommodates our differences with mutual respect—it does not privilege certain people overs others. RFRA legislation is simply another form of discrimination.

Jesus was clear that the summary of the law was to love God, and to love your neighbor as yourself! If you and your ministry would like talking points and a guide to action, to plan writing a letter campaign after service, Integrity offers these resources to you and your congregation. We intend to send an Integrity representative to our congregations in Michigan very soon and lend support to our communities there. If you are able to make a donation towards this work we would be grateful: we are member, not Church, supported.

We look forward to standing together with you, kneeling together with you, and bringing our faith into everything we do!

Blessings,

Vivian

Vivian Taylor, Executive Director